Photographer Steve McCurry is perhaps best known for his picture of the green eyed Afghan girl who stared out from the front page of National Geographic in the 1980s, yet his portfolio is crammed with powerful colour shots from around the globe.
“You know the thing that was so astonishing about these coal miners in Afghanistan, they go underground for 12 hours a day, they go in six o’clock in the morning and when the sun’s setting they come back out. They’ve been breathing coal dust all day long, there’s no protective gear except this sort of flimsy helmet. But the first thing this man did when he came out to the ground, after breathing all this coal dust, is light up a cigarette. And I just found it so amazing.”
“I had photographed these fishermen with this very unique way of fishing from the shore and after a while I realised that to get the best angle was to join them, so I had to wade into the water up to my waist. It’s such a strange and wonderful way they fish perched on this pole, which is jammed on this coral reef, and they sit there for a couple of hours in the morning, and then couple of hour in the late afternoon, and I was amazed with how much fish they can actually catch.
” I was riding through the desert on a taxi in Rajasthan, when suddenly out of nowhere this dust storm kind of whipped up, and within seconds the sky had gone dark, and this really strong wind was blowing. “I looked off into this field and saw these women dressed in very colourful clothes, huddled together protecting themselves from the wind, and they were singing. I literally opened the door, dashed out, ran across this field and I shot I guess 15 or 20 exposures and made to or three what I felt really good pictures. And then, just as quickly as this dust storm started it stopped, and the whole thing was over and they just went back to work. The whole thing lasted no more than two minutes.”
“I’ve been going back to this visual ancient quarter of Jodhpur for probably 20 years, and I know that area very well, I must have photographed every street. It was a major thoroughfare with people coming and going. I was photographing people coming towards me and away from me and there were a number of really interesting pictures. In fact I went back there the next day. And as I was editing, I realised that one of these pictures which I hadn’t really remembered taking was one of this boy running and I caught him in kind of mid-leap, it just had this kind of wonderful decisive moment to it. I was very pleased with that picture.”